Faster digitisation, aided by the pandemic and coupled with the availability of popular games/titles, has seen the Indian online gaming industry break new ground.
Driven by smartphone and internet penetration, investments in the ecosystem, adoption of digital payments and emerging technologies, the sector is well poised to be amongst the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world.
What we are witnessing today is not a boom, but something that would have eventually taken place. The pandemic merely set the phenomena earlier than expected.
As more Indians turn to online gaming, the numbers, as per a KPMG report, are expected to rise to 510 million in 2022, up from 360 million in 2020. As far as revenues are concerned, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent to Rs 290 billion ($3.84 billion) in the next five years.
As we foresee the online gaming segment to be amongst the biggest in the M&E industry, here’s the trends that will see the sector garner an increased share in the time and money spent by users.
Building trust through transparency
The gaming industry has always been proactive towards adopting new technologies to meet the needs of gamers.
Companies have to stay ahead of the game by keeping up with never-ending regulations, technology advancements, and customer demands. Having tackled those issues, the next challenge to overcome is transparency and security at the point of transaction.
With the implementation of blockchain technology into the payment system, gamers will have the two things they desire the most – control and transparency. The year 2022 will be one when companies present gamers with an experience – the only thing that they need to worry about is the result, not if the outcome was rigged.
The new, blockchain-enabled internet gaming world is one of privacy, security, and transparency, and will only drive more success and achieve credibility.
Blockchain to unlock economic opportunities
As we see an increase in the number of players who look to break into the industry, we shall also witness blockchain up-end and open new opportunities for them. It will bring a new economic revolution, one that aligns with the digital aspect/nature of the game.
With NFTs gaining prominence, earnings will be democratised in gaming as digital ownership, via in-game purchases, come to the fore. What’s more, these purchases can be turned into investments as users buy and sell their accounts as well.
It’s a large, yet untapped market, but we are beginning to see the start of many companies setting up to do this. It is a win-win situation for all as artists will use games for creative expression, players can transact, service providers get an ever-increasing customer base, and developers can receive a cut from the transactions.
Together, going forward, the gaming industry will foster a new sphere of community economics.
Big bets on real-money gaming
Affordable internet data and wide use of digital payments have made real-money gaming an even more attractive option for a large demographic who didn’t know about it. As participation increases with players realising there is a low-risk, but high-reward factor, the gaming industry will witness a resounding spike in new-paying users (NPU) as new avenues are created.
Given that the space is so large and new, we will see firmer guidelines and better regulations. Responsible measures will enable a safe gaming ecosystem for everyone – government, companies, and the gamer.
Creating a community of gamers
The explosive growth of gaming during the pandemic has displayed that an increased number of netizens have found a new outlet for much-needed connection as they spent time at home. The past two years have taught even non-gamers by helping them realise how games build friendships online and bring people together.
Through a well-planned community strategy, publishers have realized how easy it is to strengthen their brand, share knowledge, and seek feedback as they form a community with identifiable cultural and behavioural traits.
As gaming becomes more accessible and mainstream, companies are jumping on the gaming bandwagon to maintain communities in the digital realm. Take, for example, Meta (earlier Facebook), which hosted the very-first gaming community challenge in India – Game of Tribes. Like them, other platforms too are committed to building the gaming ecosystem in India as they support gaming communities keen to upgrade skills and expand connections.
Innovation to be at its peak
The success of gaming as an industry lies in how immersive and interactive it can be. What is presented to the gamer will undergo a transformation in terms of the game itself and the experience that it delivers.
Showcasing a high sense of innovation, developers will have to envision, design, and develop a dynamic game interface based on the interests and preferences of gamers.
By bringing in a sense of novelty and discovering something new each time they play the game, the gaming industry will witness these new avenues take engagement levels to its peak.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YS.)